Letters to the Editor, January 9, 2014
Dental care for old folk is inadequate
The elderly have to face a number of issues related to dental care.
They might suffer from pain if they have dental problems and this could put them under psychological pressure.
Many of them may be unaware that poor oral hygiene can bring about other infections. Common dental problems for older people are bleeding gums, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, and periodontal diseases.
Those with only a few teeth left may only be able to eat soft food. This can also lead to failing health if they are not getting enough nutrition in their diet. They may, for example, avoid high-fibre vegetables, because they have difficulty chewing them. They prefer soft food that is easier to digest.
This can affect their social life, because they may avoid going out to have meals with their children or friends. As I said, this is bad for their health and psychologically damaging.
The current government policy on oral health stresses public education, and is "prevention-based". For those wanting help from government dental clinics, they are offered only pain relief and teeth extraction. Also, there is a quota and older citizens might queue as early as 5am to get a ticket.
The government has been urged to increase the quota and hours of operation of public dental clinics.
Also, it has to come up with a comprehensive dental health care policy so elderly people get the help they need and can be assured the best possible oral health.
Tracy Lai Wai-lan, Mong Kok
Elderly poor need more financial aid
The government's poverty line, announced in September, showed that 1.31 million citizens were officially poor.
This may not appear to be such a serious problem given that Hong Kong has a population of over seven million. Most citizens are above the line because they have jobs and do not need to rely on government welfare.
However, the statistics also reveal that one in three elderly people are poor.
The government should be doing more to help these people. They need additional funds to ensure that they can have a comfortable old age, as they contributed so much to society during their working lives.
While many people are working, I think the administration also has to create more job opportunities for young people and encourage them to work harder.
Se Wing Chung, Sha Tin
Why couples don't want to start a family
Concern has been expressed about Hong Kong's ageing population and the rising cost of looking after the elderly.
The cost of medical care for the elderly is rising. We have this problem of an ageing population because more couples are deciding not to start a family. With rising living costs and serious air pollution, they opt not to start a family.
The government does not appear to be paying much attention to the low birth rate, but officials should be trying to come up with solutions.
Also, as a society, we need to accept responsibility for the older generation. We must recognise the contribution they made in developing Hong Kong. Without them, the city would not have been able to meet all the challenges it has faced over the past few decades.
Christine Ho, Kwun Tong
Modi will be better prime minister
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has decided that after 10 years in power he is stepping down after elections due in May.
He wants Indians to support Rahul Gandhi, of the Congress party, and not the leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Modi.
During his 10 years as prime minister Dr Singh has helped make India a space power, a humanitarian aid donor and a key figure in maintaining peace with Pakistan. This is something which the late Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv failed to accomplish during their terms as premiers.
I think that Mr Modi would do a better job as prime minister than Rahul Gandhi who lacks experience. However, he will have to be able to curb corruption at all levels of government.
K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels
Pessimistic about future of waterfront
I totally agree with your editorial ("No excuse for barracks protest", January 5) and the trespassers deserve all that the law throws at them.
However, this unwise incursion does bring into sharp focus the serious implications of rezoning the waterfront area as a military zone, as Katty Law ably illuminated in her letter ("Retain controversial waterfront area as public open space", December 24).
Military zones must normally remain off-limits, so it appears that the government has not thought through the serious connotations of its application to the Town Planning Board for a rezoning to "military use".
The work at this 150-metre stretch of waterfront has been completed, but ominously public entry is still barred. It appears that the board is being pre-empted and expected to carry out its usual rubber-stamping role.
Katty Law is correct to point out that the community was promised a world-class harbourfront on this Central and North Wan Chai reclamation.
The City Hall high block offers a bird's-eye view of the site. It is truly disappointing how much has been carved out for roads, that divorce the harbourfront from the city.
There is now a 36,600 square metre open area in front of the PLA building and City Hall which the Lands Department has tendered for events, activities, entertainment, trade exhibitions and conventions.
Presently, this "free for public use" area is completely encircled by a two-metre-high steel mesh, and there is a large paved portion that looks like a military parade ground. I admit that this is still a work in progress, but it does not appear welcoming and there is not a tree in sight.
On this matter of trees I commend Frank Lee for his letter ("One group of experts needs to manage all Hong Kong's trees", December 30).
I agree that Chinese banyan trees (Ficus microcarpa) are an evocative and important feature of our city. I therefore wonder why none of these trees have been planted along this waterfront or in the landscaped park area in front of the new government headquarters at Tamar.
P. C. Law, Quarry Bay
Recycling is a habit that can cut waste
Pollution problems in Hong Kong are becoming more serious.
A polluted environment can adversely affect our health and also the economy.
For these reasons, we should not delay taking action to protect our environment.
Individuals should change their daily routines so we are all contributing to the creation of a better environment.
We should avoid buying material that we do not need and we should get into the habit of reusing where possible.
Also, recycling is important in households in order to reduce the volumes of waste we generate.
We should also avoid food waste by not cooking too much. And the same rule should apply when in a restaurant, so that we only order what we will be able to eat.
I also think if people spend more time in the countryside, they will have a better appreciation of the importance of protecting animals and their habitats.
On the subject of animal protection, people should stop wearing furs and instead opt to wear synthetic fur.
We should be willing to get involved when clean-ups of areas of the countryside and beaches are being organised and speak out when development plans in the city are proposed that threaten natural habitats.
By working together, we can change our habits and we can all help to protect the environment.
Raymond Chan Kwun-hin, Tseung Kwan O
Hot weather not linked to carbon dioxide
The current heatwave in Australia will inflame the "carbonistas" who will claim it is caused by wicked humans exhaling and exhausting carbon dioxide.
But carbon dioxide is almost irrelevant to local heat conditions.
That is all about wind.
If the wind blows from the summer tropics for days, we will have a heatwave and possible bushfires.
However, if we get a winter gale from polar regions there may be cold mornings, sleet and sheep farmer alerts.
If it blows from the sea, we may get enervating humidity and thunderstorms, but if it comes from the desert, we may get lip-cracking dryness, whirl-winds or dust storms.
If there is no wind at all, the heat will peak after lunch and it will be coolest just as the sun rises.
It is simple stuff really, except for government-funded climatologists with giant computers needing a software upgrade. And carbon dioxide has almost nothing to do with any of it.
Viv Forbes, Rosewood, Queensland, Australia